Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Episode 43: In Which DFM Hears Wooden Bells, And Drinks $9 Tea

Today (Tuesday the 22nd) was my last day of work in Korea. As I mentioned in a previous post too, today was also the Christmas "song festival" at my school all all of the students and teachers have been busy preparing the last couple of weeks.

Here you can see all of the teachers dressed up as "Santa grandmother," as they get ready to play a fantastic rendition of "Silent Night" on the wooden "noise makers" they have in their hands. Each "bell" makes a different tone, based on how long it is. I'm not sure what they're called, but they sure were a complicated way to make music.

After I was finished for the day, the principal gave me a nice pair of gloves and announced over the intercom that all the teachers should leave their classes to come say good-bye to me. It was all rather touching, and almost makes me wish I wasn't finished... almost.

After work I went to meet Hyenii and some other friends from MEC. Hyenii told me that she would not be able to come to the fair well party MEC was holding for me next Tuesday, so she wanted one last opportunity to say good-bye.

I'm not sure why, but we went to some area in Seoul called Sinsa-dong. The area is famous for its many fashion stores, which in turn attract many women. In the summer, the street cafes are apparently filled with women, and the streets themselves filled with men driving expensive cars back and forth trying to impress those women.

Part of the problem with areas that fashion themselves on being "European," is that they bring with them European prices. The Korean restaurant we went to was still as cheap as any other, but the cafes were another story.

After our meal we decided to sit down and talk over a cup of tea or coffee, but at the cafe Hyenii chose, the tea cost $8-$9, and the water was more than $10! I assume being from Norway gives it an extra molecule of oxygen (but not hydrogen, that would make it hydrogen peroxide).

While initially reluctant to hand over my $9, I was later relieved when I receive an actual pot of tea, not just a cup. Even better, the tea was delicious and I received a refill of hot water for my tea leaves. That said, $9 is a ridiculous price to pay for something that probably cost 10 cents.

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